With the holiday season approaching, it’s good to add some fun into teaching to keep your students engaged and motivated. We’ve created 12 simple classroom activities and tips that you can carry out with your primary class to encourage them to be good.
6 tips for planning your first English classes
You are nervous, yet excited. You want to appear relaxed and fun, but still be taken seriously. Most of all, you are keen to make an excellent first impression.
With all that in mind - planning your first English classes of the year can be a daunting experience.
Here are six things to consider when planning your first classes:
1. Set clear aims
Whether you are teaching young learners, teenagers or adults, it’s important you discuss the aims and objectives of the course from day one. You’ll need to learn more about your students' needs to do this. Why are they learning English? Do they want to prepare for an official exam? What activities do they enjoy? What things do they need to improve the most?
The way you do this will depend on the age of your learners. For example, with adults and teens, you could get them to interview each other and write a report about what they found out. With younger children, do a survey they can complete using smiley faces.
2. Find out students’ interests
Although you should understand your students' needs and why they want to learn English - to help make your classes relevant and engaging - you should also discover what they enjoy doing outside of class.
To do this, get students to write mini bios you can stick around the classroom. Or have them prepare presentations where they share something they are passionate about with the rest of the class - using coursebooks. As a class, go through the contents page, vote on which topics students find most interesting, and start with those.
3. Break the ice
You want your first class to be fun so that students are motivated, and associate English language learning with something they can enjoy. Ice-breakers can also be an excellent way to get to know each other and learn about your students' current level of English.
Activities where students have to ask each other questions work well.
4. Provide a comfortable environment
Young learners and teenagers tend to be shy at the start of a course - especially if they don’t know each other. Develop a rapport and break down boundaries by including team-building activities in your first class. Your aim is to have all the students feeling more comfortable with each other before the end of the lesson so that there are no awkward silences in future lessons.
5. Manage expectations
Managing expectations is an essential part of a teacher's job. Make sure in the first class you are clear about what you expect from your students and what they can expect from you.
Have students brainstorm the rules for the class and then make a big poster or ‘class contract’ which all students have to sign. Display the poster on the wall so you can always refer to it if someone misbehaves.
Try to keep the rules as positive as possible. Instead of writing: 'Don’t speak your first language', write: 'Try to always speak English and ask if you don’t know a word'. If you are feeling really brave, you can even get your students to devise a list of rules for you which you can display on the wall next to theirs.
6. Make it challenging
It’s great making your first lesson fun - but there’s nothing more motivating than leaving a new class and feeling like you’ve made a good decision and you are going to learn lots (and you aren’t wasting your time or money). This is especially important for adult learners.
So, as well as getting to know each other and finding out their needs, teach them something new. This could be 10 new pieces of vocabulary, how to structure a letter or report, or a list of resources they can use at home to practice their English.
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In the fast-paced world of business, there is one undeniable fact that holds true: employees are the key to success. Their commitment and expertise propel organizations towards their objectives, which is why investing in a learning culture is essential. The advantages are numerous and include improved staff retention, increased productivity and the goal of higher employee engagement.
You may have heard the term learning management system (LMS) at work or perhaps during your time in education. For many, this throws out images of clunky, outdated systems that clumsily distribute course materials and are tough to use. But that is no longer the case. Modern LMS's are far more user-friendly, and it's time to relearn what you thought you knew about these tools.
In this ultimate guide, we will look at everything you need to know about learning management systems and why they are so beneficial.
What is a learning management system?
The idea is that these LMS platforms offer one central place for users to manage and access courses and learning materials. Depending on the user, this could be anything from self-paced e-courses to classroom training.
This can help facilitate a range of training, studying and skills development, as well as assessments, exams and certification management.
Who uses LMS's and why?
There are many great uses for learning management systems but these are used primarily by businesses and educational establishments. Here are some of the most common use cases for these platforms:
HR and management - The HR and management team might implement these across the business to help with learning and development and make sure that organizational goals are being hit
Employee onboarding - Those starting a new job may be given training via an LMS; this can make the onboarding process much quicker and simpler
Compliance training - Lots of roles require compliance training, for example health and safety training, and this is a great way for businesses to stay up to date and ensure everyone complies with regulations
Customer support - Some businesses use learning management systems to onboard customers or clients. This might include sharing user manuals and product guides. Plus, sales professionals might also use them to train new partners or clients in using their services or platforms.
Classroom learning - Lecturers and teachers can create and share course materials and align content and tests from one place. These can also be used to put a twist on traditional classroom learning.
Blended learning - Schools, colleges and universities may use these for online lessons and blended learning, particularly for remote students
Volunteer training - Charities and non-profits may also use an LMS to educate volunteers and keep them motivated about the cause
Of course, these platforms can and will be used in other ways, but these are some of the most common and beneficial uses for LMS's.
Who has access to LMS's?
In most cases, learning management systems will have two primary user groups: administrators and learners.
Administrators are the people who create, manage and deliver e-learning. They may use these platforms to upload their own learning materials, or they may select courses and materials from an existing list given by the provider.
On the other hand, learners are the professionals or students who will use these platforms to train, study and gain new skills. Many modern LMS's allow multiple learners to train or access materials at the same time.
However, there is a third and final group that we have yet to mention: the parents of students using LMS's, particularly outside of school hours. In some cases, parents may have access to these systems to support students, track their progress or look at feedback from the teacher.
Key features in modern LMS's
There are a variety of learning management systems out there and some are more advanced than others. That being said, many modern platforms will share similar features to ensure they stay competitive. Some of these key features may include:
Authoring tools that allow administrators to upload or build their own courses
Access to subject matter experts who can contribute to learning and development activities
Automated workflows that allow for the creation of personalized learning journeys
A resources library that holds all relevant learning materials, such as guides, video clips and courses
Quizzes and surveys for a more fun and engaging way to assess learners
Compliance features, such as automatic reminders that notify learners when it is time to retrain
Certificates and diplomas that give learners recognition as they study and meet their targets
Insights and analysis for individual progress and results, allowing administrators to identify gaps or areas where support is needed
Compatibility with mobile devices for studying on the go
Integrations with other internal systems and software
This is by no means a complete list and different platforms will have different functionality. However, these are some of the most common and beneficial features of many modern LMSs.
The benefits of using learning management systems
Saving time and money
First and foremost, an LMS can be an excellent way for businesses to save time and money on training.
Of course there is an initial investment in the platform, but training can be expensive and time-consuming, particularly if it must take place in a location outside of the workplace. Therefore, this can be the more cost-effective solution. Not to mention, the materials are quick to access and can save time and effort.
Ensuring compliance training is completed
These platforms are an excellent way to ensure that all mandatory training is completed on time and to the highest standard. For example, industry-specific training such as fire safety or cybersecurity training.
Provide accurate data
Administrators can access data and insights into their employee's learning. This can be a great way to see where more support is needed and to identify any skills gaps that need to be filled. Similarly, teachers can get to grips with how well their students are doing and if they need extra help in any subjects or areas.
Improves the learning experience
Whether in school or the workplace, LMS's can be a great way to improve the learning process. It allows users to study and access learning materials from one accessible location. Plus, through a multimedia approach, they can use guides, videos and more to help them learn. This can ensure they engage with the materials and stay motivated.
Finally, an LMS can make communication between students, teachers, employees and employers far simpler. For example, automated reminders keep everyone in the loop and ensure all training is completed on time. But more than that, there is one central place to communicate, review feedback and access the same materials.